"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dinner & A DVD: Hostage

It's been a while since I prepared a dinner. Most nights are spent eating out or fixing some fast. But tonight I was home and prepared this easy casserole. Convenience items like frozen vegetables and a jar of cheese sauce made it a snap to assemble this comforting pork chop supper. It was an easy meal-in-one.

Baked Pork Chops

Bone-in pork loin chops
Vegetable oil
Seasoned Salt
1 jar (8 oz) process cheese sauce (Cheese Whiz)
1/2 cup milk
1 can (2.8 oz) french-fried onions, divided
1 package frozen broccoli florets

In a skillet, brown pork chops in oil; sprinkle with seasoned salt. In a bowl, combine the cheese sauce and milk until blended; spread into a greased baking dish. Top with half of the onions. Arrange broccoli and pork chops over the top.

Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining onions. Bake 10 minutes longer or until the meat is no longer pink and the broccoli is tender.


When I think of Bruce Willis, I tend to think of action films with plenty of shooting.

Hostage was that, but it was also much more.Devastated when a failed attempt to negotiate a hostage situation leads to the death of a small child, LAPD's top negotiator Jeff Talley leaves his wife and teenage daughter to accept a low profile job as chief of police in a small town. But his quiet life comes to an abrupt halt when three teenage boys follow home a rich family with the intent to steal their car. The teenagers plan goes awry when they are trapped in in the family's mansion, unaware the father works for a crime syndicate.

In panic, the three take the family hostage forcing Talley into the role of negotiator. But just when he's about to hand the case over to the Sheriff's department, his own family is taken hostage by the criminal group who want a disc that is in the house. Talley is then left in the precarious situation of negotiating with two families on the line.

Willis, of course, plays the jaded, world-weary Talley and although he gives an action-packed performance, there is reflection in his behaviourism that he's not some energetic young kid anymore. He depicts a more in-depth insight into Talley, making him come across as a more solid character.

Ben Foster, who plays the dangerously unhinged Mars, has an equally as strong presence in the film. He gives a great performance of a man who leaves you questioning just how evil he is. Jonathan Tucker and Marshall Allman play brothers who act as Mars' accomplices. It's a nice touch that they aren't depicted as cruel, evil monsters but rather just delinquent boys in over their heads who never wanted to see anyone hurt.

Hostage has all the ingredients of a good action flick, with shooting, cops and Willis. Yet nevertheless it rises above that by injecting a hefty dose of drama and suspense into the storyline making it not only exciting but dark and intense. There aren't any pointless scenes filmed purely for the sake of showing 'look, we have guns and can do cool stunts', which is why the film joins the ranks of being a more intelligent action thriller. And because the characters aren't one-dimensional but rather have individual personalities, the audience is interested in their fates.

A film for both Willis fans and those just looking for a good action thriller.

No comments: